About the Founder

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

“Creativity” and the “whole brain” are not new concepts. The pioneers of these fields have come and gone, leaving a mark that will benefit mankind for the future. One of the most iconic figures in the creativity world was a man named Paul Torrance (1915-2003). His influence was such that he was nicknamed the “Father of creativity” for his immense contribution to our understanding of this somewhat mystical concept.

In his time as a creativity scholar, Paul Torrance created a massive 1871 publications:

  • •  he wrote 88 books,
  • •  contributing to a further 256 parts of books;
  • •  added his name on more than 408 journal articles;
  • •  compiled 538 reports, manuals, tests, etc.;
  • •  355 conference papers,
  • •  and wrote 64 forewords or prefaces.

His most lasting footprint left behind is the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT).

It was this man that the founder of the Kobus Neethling Institute chose to align himself with. Dr Kobus Neethling began his walk with Paul Torrance in 1983. It is a journey they walked together from 1983-2003. Firstly as his M.A. and then Post PHD professor at the University of Georgia. Torrance later became Dr Kobus Neethling’s mentor and advisor.


In these years, Dr Neethling put together decades of research to make creativity a concept tangible to the everyday man, woman and child. He achieved this by extending the concept of the whole brain – he found that there were 8-dimensions instead of only 4. Being more than a scholar, Dr Neethling would always test his findings by applying them to his own life. 


Applied Creativity

It is useless not to use the knowledge you acquire. This has been Dr Kobus Neethling’s ongoing goal – to find ways to apply the knowledge he has gained. 

In time, his applications of creativity started to draw the attention of high-ranking government officials around the world. He was invited to train Nelson Mandela’s staff soon after Mr Mandela had become the first president of a new Democratic South Africa. The topic was “The importance of Creativity and Innovation in a new South Africa.”


Dr Neethling has also made trips around the world. For example, he was invited by the office of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to deliver a presentation. The presentation was on “How to introduce and sustain Creativity and Innovation in the Organisation.” Dr Neethling’s travels has been unceasing – he has flown the banner for creativity in more than 40 countries.

Sharing Accumulated Knowledge with the World

Over the years Dr Neethling has made extensive effort to make creativity and whole brain thinking accessible to everyone. He has summed up his findings across more than 90 books. Applying creativity across multiple domains, the titles of the books include:

  • •  “Creativity uncovered”;
  • •  “Very Smart Parents”;
  • •  “Taking You Beyond”;
  • •  “Love, Sex and the Brain”;
  • •  “Creative Rugby”;
  • •  “Am I Clever or Am I Stupid
  • •  and many more

The book “Am I Clever or Am I Stupid” sold more than 200 000 copies to date.

Branches of the Creativity Tree

Creativity is strongly linked to how we think. Dr Neethling, realising this, started intensive research. He developed the largest collection of Whole Brain Instruments in the world.

This includes the acclaimed 8-Dimension Brain Model. The Neethling Brain Instruments are his brain-child. They are unique because they cover the more in-depth 8-dimensional model instead of only the four quadrants.


What is the 8-dimension Brain Model?

Dr Neethling and his associates realised in the late 90s that two specific thinking processes were present in each quadrant. In other words they observed that two people who had similar thinking preference profiles sometimes behave significantly different. After further investigation, in 2000, Neethling and Torrance examined the raw scores of the NBI Adult Instrument (1991-1999: sample of 1500). With the assistance of Dr Liezel Korf, they prepared the initial NBI 8-Dimension Instrument.

Looking Towards the Future

The rest is history, as they say, and everybody wants to leave a legacy behind. All of Dr Kobus Neethling and his colleagues collected knowledge and research is now being made available online.

His pursuit of discovering the secrets behind creativity and how to apply it in every day life is becoming a library of knowledge. And everyone is welcome to it. Now everybody who passes through this institute will be able to master their thinking preferences, and become creative, whole brain thinkers.

Some of Dr Neethling’s Acknowledgements
and Achievements

Received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship Award (Rotary Intl. — 2015)

Previous recipients include Miriam Makeba and Nelson Mandela.

Some of his awards include:

Personality of the Year(2000); One of 2000 outstanding Scholars of the 20th century (1999: Cambridge England) and The International Who’s Who of Intellectuals Award.

He received the 1998 International Leadership Award

… from the Creative ProblemSolving Institute  USA.

He holds six degrees,

… including two Masters, a Doctorate and Post-Doctorate (cum laude) in the identification and development of creative behaviour (Universities of Cape Town and Georgia in the USA).

“Dr Kobus Neethling is one of the top 3 speakers in the world on the topics of creativity and innovation”

Quote is from the programme of the 12th European Conference on Creativity and innovation.

Gave the opening keynote at the European Creativity and Innovation Conference (ECCI) – Belgium

It is one of the most prestigious keynote platforms in the world.

Previous member of the International Innovation Alliance

Which is a group of 7 innovators from five continents (all global ‘innovation reward awardees’) – the most exalted innovation expert group in the world.


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